'Ebola vaccine showing promising results'

Nairobil: Two Ebola vaccines undergoing clinical trials have shown promising results and would be deployed in January 2015 to West African countries affected by the epidemic, a scientist from Oxford University said Monday.

Speaking at a conference of African Immunologists in Nairobi, Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University's Jenner Institute, said the two vaccines will re-energise the fight against Ebola, Xinhua reported.

"The two vaccines have demonstrated remarkable efficacy and have no side effects to Ebola patients. We anticipate their deployment will commence in January," Hill told African medical researchers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Nov 29 revealed that 6,928 people have died of Ebola in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

At the same time, 16,000 people are infected with the Ebola virus and could succumb to death in the absence of proper treatment and care.

Pharmaceutical giants, rich governments, foundations and multilateral agencies have contributed funds to support development of an Ebola vaccine.

Hill said that clinical trials on Ebola vaccine have accelerated thanks to adequate funding and political attention.

"Development of an Ebola vaccine is accelerating faster than anticipated. The vaccine is being tested in Mali where 80 people have received the jab," Hill said, adding that over 200 people have been vaccinated against Ebola globally.

The clinical trials on Ebola vaccine commenced in September and the WHO will approve it once it passes efficacy and safety test.

Hill revealed that pharmaceutical giants, British and American governments have collaborated to develop the Ebola vaccine.

Clinical trials on Ebola vaccine have involved primates since the disease was discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"There was a breakthrough in the clinical trials targeting monkeys and the next phase will focus on the vaccines` efficacy on humans," Hill told scientists.

He emphasised the vaccine will be a game changer in the war against Ebola in West and Central Africa.

"The vaccine will be availed to high risk groups like health workers and people involved in burials," Hill said.

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